back to article 50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the first of which was installed outside Barclays Bank, Enfield Town in north London. Actor Reg Varney from '70s sitcom On the Buses was the first to use the cash machine. Fast forward half a century and cash machines have become a familiar high street …

  1. Neil 32
    Headmaster

    Para 3... "deposit checks"

    What's a check!? Damned Yank-isms!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Para 3... "depisit checks"

      What's a check!? Damned Yank-isms!

      What's a depisit?

      1. Neil 32

        I don't know what you mean!

        *whistles innocently while polishing fingerprints from the "Edit" button*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What's a check!? Damned Yank-isms!"

      Never mind American checks ... what about "ATM" ... its meant to be a "cash dispenser" over here

      1. TRT Silver badge

        "cash dispenser"???

        Hole in'th' wall.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "cash dispenser"???

          They just closed the local "Hole in the Wall" around here... though I don't think I ever had a drink in there (or maybe just the one... it's hard to remember).

      2. CraPo

        "Cashpoint"

        Was introduced by Lloyds in 1972 and trademarked in 1986

      3. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        Here in Italy we call them "bancomat", while ATM is the public transport company of Milano - thus, if you're in this city and you ask for an ATM machine, you could be driven to a metro/bus ticket dispenser...

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Headmaster

          thus, if you're in this city and you ask for an ATM machine, you could be driven to a metro/bus ticket dispenser...

          Possibly the only time it is appropriate to ask for an ATM machine. Cheers to the Milanese for getting that right.

      4. Tikimon Silver badge
        Headmaster

        ATM = Automated Teller Machine

        I always cringe when I hear people refer to "the ATM machine."

        1. The other JJ

          Re: ATM = Automated Teller Machine

          And if they refer to "Putting their PIN number into the ATM machine"?

    3. Daniel B.
      Joke

      Well...

      Every time I read "cheque" in an English article, I'm wondering if Spanish is really taking over the language...

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Without cash how do you do a cash in the back pocket deal? Asked out of sheer curiosity of course.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Lend me £50 and I'll show you...

    2. Michael Kean

      Just grab the cryptocurrency of your choice :)

  3. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Reg Varney from '70s sitcom On the Buses

    Why was someone from a sitcom in the future showing off the first Cash Machine in 1967?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Reg Varney from '70s sitcom On the Buses

      He was in 'The Rag Trade' before that. And "The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery". And something called "Beggar my Neighbour". But most people know him as Butler from "On The Buses". I believe he lived in Enfield at the time - handy for the studios up at Borehamwood.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extinct in ten years?

    "It’s unlikely the ATM [will reach] its 60th anniversary, and with 44 per cent of us stating that we rarely use them to remove cash from our accounts any more, it will not be long until ATMs are consigned to the history books," Black said.

    It's possible, but only when cash is completely extinct, because people need to get it from somewhere. The sandwich van and food stalls where I buy my lunch could easily get some sort of card payment solution, but the fact that they haven't, despite the hassle of handling cash, implies to me that it would probably cost them some significant amount of their profits. Many of that type of smallest business, charities etc still use cash as their only option. What kind of digital payment can you slip into a stripper's garter belt? I think cash will be around for a while yet, and cash machines with it.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      Depending upon the service provider, number of transactions etc it's usually between 3% - 6%, plus the cost of any setups and the actual machines....

      Not a huge number but it definitely has an impact on profit..

      On top of that all transactions are recorded, "cough, cough", which the tax man loves but the vendor might not ...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. drdr6

        Re: Extinct in ten years?

        The really scary thing here that all the card lovers seem to completely ignore is that once there is no cash, then governments and banks can impose negative interest rates, because you won't be able to go to the bank and pull out your cash.

        1. tony72

          Re: Extinct in ten years?

          You could still hold gold, or bitcoin. Both gold and bitcoin ATMs actually exist, so maybe that's the future for ATMs if cash goes extinct.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Extinct in ten years?

        "Probably the ~2.5+% fee that credit card companies charge for the privilege of being able to use their payment system"

        More probably it's the 20% income tax they'd have to pay to get the money on their books officially.

      3. G Mac
        Unhappy

        Re: Extinct in ten years?

        In the US it is a law (put through by the credit card industry via bribes to politicians) that a merchant cannot discount payments made in cash. So its cash only or everything is the same price no matter the payment method.

        Apparently it was 'designed' to encourage use of credit cards. I will believe the hype of a cashless society when they remove that restriction so folks can choose the method of payment based on the transaction fee.

        No doubt some will say there is a cost for maintaining a cash float by the merchant - fine by me if that cost gets passed through. Want I don't want is opaque fees that I cannot compare.

        And you can bet your sweet bippy that when no choice is to be had (aka cashless) those fees will only go up.

        1. Donn Bly

          Re: merchant cannot discount payments made in cash

          Actually those laws, and the restrictions, changed years ago. As of January 27, 2013 US businesses were allowed to charge up to 4% more for credit card transactions than cash, provided that they have clear signage about the policy.

          Many businesses in highly competitive, low margin trades such as Gas Stations (Petrol for the rest of you on the other side of the pond) have separate prices for cash and credit.

          When you only have a 5% margin, 3% in card fees amounts to 60% of the profit!

          1. G Mac
            Thumb Up

            Re: merchant cannot discount payments made in cash

            Ah that is interesting I missed that thanks.

            Looking at the rules for Visa though it is not across the board:

            * Applies only to credit cards, not debit or pre-paid cards;

            * 10 states restrict the surcharge, including some big ones (CA, NY, FL, MA, TX). Since I have lived in NY and CA no wonder I missed this!

            * Merchant can only surcharge up to the acceptance rate of the card up to 4%. The rate varies according to card present, type of business, signature required etc. At least for Visa it seems they want the highest rate applied across competing networks to be applied.

            https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/surcharging-faq-by-merchants.pdf

            https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/merchant-category-definitions-credit-card-cost-to-acquirers.pdf

            https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/surcharge-considerations-and-requirements.pdf

            In the end the merchant still cannot discount cash transactions at a rate the merchant chooses. In addition, I would like the transaction fee for *all* transactions to be available.

            Question for US folks not in a restricted state - does the surcharge get displayed BEFORE you OK the transaction?

        2. chuckm
          Go

          Re: Extinct in ten years?

          Yeah, but since the US also has state and local taxes, invisible transactions can't incur them.

          Anyway the black economy needs cash so if governments try to wish it away, something else will replace it. And the black economy has existed as long as civilisation. It isn't going anywhere because those in power need is as much as or more than anyone else.

      4. ridley

        Re: Extinct in ten years?

        2.5% Transaction fees has a huge impact on low margin businesses, say PC components.

        Remember the 2.5% is on the transaction cost ie inc VAT so in effect you have to allow for a 3% loss in gross margin for plastic transactions.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oliver Jones

        Insurance is partially a hedged thing, so "mandatory" may cause you to have to give a policy to an expensive customer. Where as previously, you just showed the door to them (we did this in one place I worked, "creatively" with pricing, we only wanted the "cheap", that is easy and low claim customers).

        However, the point does still stand for monopolies. And in my case again, they did not quite have a monopoly but did just rise prices "because everyone else is".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      Re: Stripper - Shirley, you just swipe the card in the slot...

      1. Rimpel
        Joke

        Re: Extinct in ten years?

        To pay a stripper you must use contactless, that's the rule in a strip club...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Extinct in ten years?

          Where do you swipe it?

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      "it would probably cost them some significant amount of their profits."

      According to the guy at our local corner shop, he has to buy the machine, pay to be allowed to use it and pay for a service contract which is supposed to a 24 service call out but they rarely arrive in less than 5 days, meanwhile he's losing sales. If he doesn't have the machine, he loses sales. This is all on top of the commission he's charged on every sale and the up front cost to be certified to be allowed to give them all his money.

    5. Super Fast Jellyfish

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      Like the cheque book was meant to die out about 5 years ago...

      I smell a consultancy rat with that timeline

    6. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      During my A-levels, I learned that Mondex would soon render cash obsolete. I don't think it'll ever go entirely, we'll just have more payment options available.

    7. nijam

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      > ...charities etc still use cash

      It's almost impossible to give charities cash - they want you to sign up for monthly direct debits.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Extinct in ten years?

      "many Brits believe that within the next 10 years the country will be entirely cashless due the influx of alternative payment methods"

      people forget that the cash in your wallet never suffers from connectivity issues, is largely immune to getting soaking wet and never goes flat.

      I personally find it a lot easier to budget my week from a fixed amount of cash in my wallet, than trying to remember what the number in my internet bank account is (looking it up on the go is a pain in the ass, even with the best of apps).

  5. druck Silver badge

    Autobank

    The Midland Bank before it became part of HSBC used to call it an "Autobank". We more commonly call it a cash machine, ATM is very American.

    1. Robert Moore
      Coat

      Re: Autobank

      ATM is very American.

      I thin you will find most Americans call it an ATM Machine.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I think you will find...

        most Americans call IT an ATM Machine.

        TFTFY. ;)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cash rules.

    Has anyone ever read the report on what data on you that the likes of Facebook correlates in a few milliseconds once you sign on? It is staggering and in some places it includes all your recent Credit Card purchases. All so it can target ads at you. Google does the same.

    Other companies are doing this but to lesser extents.

    Using cash does not leave a trail especially for small transactions where you pay in coins. Even tracking small denomination notes is almost impossible especially if you get them in change from a previous transaction.

    I don't want 'the man' (or any commercial company) to know everthing about me, where I go, what I buy etc etc. I don't have anything to hide but my privacy.

    I get most of my cash from ATM's every couple of weeks. £200 does me quite nicely.

    Oh, and I hate all forms of advertising. It is the work of the devil and I spent 2 years working in the industry.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Cash rules.

      "It is the work of the devil and I spent 2 years working in the industry."

      You little devil.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cash rules.

      "Has anyone ever read the report on what data on you that the likes of Facebook correlates in a few milliseconds once you sign on?"

      I only sign on to the likes of Facebook on a PC that is not used to buy anything. Even my BBC sign on that is now mandatory for iPlayer is only used on a different browser on my normal PC.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "it includes all your recent Credit Card purchases"

      Only in countries were it is allowed to buy and access those data. In others, it can't, because nor banks nor credit card companies can't sell those data.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Research by global payment outfit PPRO Group suggests many Brits believe that within the next 10 years the country will be entirely cashless due the influx of alternative payment methods."

    Not while I'm still alive thank you

    I can't see the Scouts, Sea Cadets, schools, and the myriad of other small good causes setting up for contactless payments on their fund raising stalls at various Summer Fetes. Possibly someone will suggest tokens in various denominations that you can buy from a machine with your card - like £1, 50p, 20p etc.

    1. pdh

      > Possibly someone will suggest tokens in various denominations that you can buy from a machine with your card - like £1, 50p, 20p etc.

      Those tokens already exist; they are referred to as "money"

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Those tokens already exist; they are referred to as "money""

        Whoosh!

    2. mhoulden

      Searching for PPRO Group brings up this as the description for the top link: "PPRO is a full-service partner for PSPs and payment providers in the e-payment environment as well as an e-money specialist for corporates and consumers." They also issue a lot of press releases saying how their products will replace cash, including the one quoted in this article.

  8. Roopee

    Must be a Millennial

    Cashless in 10 years? That's the sort of prediction a naive, sheltered millennial might make. Here in the real world there is still a significant minority of people who do everything in cash, and an even bigger minority who use cheques but don't, and probably never will, use online banking. Quite a few of them are my clients. They won't all have died off in 10 years, I'm glad to say.

    I personally use cash for most of my physical shopping (petrol, supermarkets etc) - if I didn't I'd have to pay the crooks called bankers just to give them my cash for them to make money with. My business bank doesn't pay interest on balances under 1/4 million so no incentive there.

    Even if all my clients paid direct, I'd still use cash if only to reduce my data footprint, but I'd have to start going to cash machines to get it instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must be a Millennial

      IIRC the Aviva insurance company stopped accepting cheques for renewal premiums several years ago. You have to use a debit or credit card by phone or online. For a credit card they charge an additional 0.5% fee.

    2. Dagg
      Pint

      Re: Must be a Millennial

      Yep, I've seen them tap and go for everything including a half in the local pub. When I'm drinking give me money, once I run out I know I've had enough and go home.

      I would hate to see the result of a "good" nights drink on a tap and go especially as they get more and more pissed and hit the top shelf. Ha Ha

  9. vir

    Another Gibson Prediction Becoming Reality

    "It was difficult to transact legitimate business with cash in the Sprawl; in Japan, it was already illegal." - Neuromancer

    1. Brangdon

      Re: Another Gibson Prediction Becoming Reality

      In Heinlein's "I Will Fear No Evil", they tried to make cash illegal but couldn't because the black market was too important to the economy. 14 years before "Neuromancer".

      (Note: not a recommendation to read "I Will Fear No Evil".)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Another Gibson Prediction Becoming Reality

        ROOSTA: “Wormhole disco. Loudest noise on Betelgeuse. Free body debit for one night only.” What’s a body debit?

        ZAPHOD: Oh you have been roughing it for too long Roosta. You missed out on progressive consumerism. Look, an old style credit card, you press the panel on the card, it makes an instant debit on your bank account and an instant credit to the shop’s account, right?

        ROOSTA: I prefer hard cash. If you can’t scratch a window with it I don’t accept it.

        ZAPHOD: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but get this: body debit means you press this card and it debits all your molecules from where you’re standing and your body goes into credit somewhere else!

        ROOSTA: In the disco!

        ZAPHOD: Right!

        ROOSTA: Escape!

        ZAPHOD: Yeah!

        ROOSTA: It’d better be a good disco.

        ZAPHOD: Listen, if it was a good disco they wouldn’t have to give away body debit cards. Right Roosta, we are going to grove our way out of here!

  10. Marty McFly
    Pirate

    All cash, all the time

    I switched my personal finances to all cash, whenever possible, about 8 years ago. Yes, in this connected society I have a debit card with no balance that is used exclusively for on-line transactions, and is funded as needed.

    I have more discretionary money now than I EVER had when I lived on credit/debit cards. I never carried any consumer debt, I just never seemed to have spending money. I have been able to pay off major debt - car, house, etc, and am now 100% debt free.

    I don't know what it is. Maybe it is the 'having to give up a tangible thing' to get something that helps control personal spending (vs. swipe & get). Either way, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. No way I will go to a 'cashless' society. I'll barter with hard currency (gold & silver) first.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: All cash, all the time

      Swipe & get?

      These days with contactless it's "tap & get". I miss the old knuckle-scraper and signing the carbons when using a credit card. I was at a petrol station a couple of weeks ago whose card machine had broken, and had to actually *sign* a slip. It was glorious!

      Not sure how far I agree with you, but there is a kernel of truth there - you thought much more about spending money when there was a ceremony to it. Now it's just too easy.

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Cash still has some advantages

    Although cashless payments can be more convenient cold, hard, cash has one small advantage over other forms of payment -- you don't have to pay a premium to use it. However you slice or dice it using cashless payment is like adding a couple of percentage onto your VAT.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Cash still has some advantages

      And it's full of beefy goodness!

    2. Andrew Commons

      Re: Cash still has some advantages

      Here in OZ TELSTRA will charge you a fee of $1 to use it to pay your bill.

      1. Kernel

        Re: Cash still has some advantages

        "Here in OZ TELSTRA will charge you a fee of $1 to use it to pay your bill."

        Here in NZ using a debit or cash card to pay is the same price as paying cash - and credit cards often are too. We are starting to get places that refuse cash for security reasons and yes, there's also the occasional mention of a premium on cash payments due to the risk.

  12. andy gibson

    paying in cheques

    I like the cashpoints that let you pay in cheques.

    What I *don't* like is the fact that my crappy bank keeps them locked away inside branches with lousy opening hours.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Technocrat's Wet Dream

    The idea of a cashless society has been knocking around for a while. It's a technocrat's wet dream.

    As others have said, if every transaction is recorded, it's taxable. That's just one element. There are serious papers doing the rounds that from a Central Bank's point of view they can then completely control the money supply, the rate of inflation and best of all (from their point of view) the interest rates.

    If all money is electronic then the concept of negative interest rates become a reality that affects every individual directly. Consider if the BofE decides on a negative interest of -5% applied to all money holdings !

    Cash will never die. The definition of what cash is may change, but the designation of something to be used as a means of exchange will always be with us. 70 years ago much of Europe used the cigarette as a form of money. Communities and individuals exchange labour or goods to mutual benefit without it being recorded.

    There will be an interesting fight between those who want to use technology to control and monitor every transaction and those trying to create anonymous eco-systems of electronic cash. My bet is that the crypto-currencies will end up being subsumed, if not slaughtered.

    1. nijam

      Re: A Technocrat's Wet Dream

      > Consider if the BofE decides on a negative interest of -5% applied to all money holdings.

      Yes, that's what inflation is, after all. Nothing new.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People who predict (or currently exist) cash-free are simply those who have never had to live through some kind of natural disaster or event. Anyone who lived in NYC during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy or the major power blackout of 2003 has learned to keep a stash of cash in the house in case of complete power outages lasting days or more. Take a look at this list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_major_power_outages and tell me you want to rely on a plastic card (which in turn requires power and network connectivity) to buy food, petrol, or other essentials.

  15. nijam

    > ...with 44 per cent of us stating that we rarely use them...

    Well, "rarely" != "never", and presumably more than 50% of us use them more often than "rarely", so the conclusion is dubious, I suspect.

  16. roytrubshaw
    Big Brother

    Biometrics and security

    "Of course, a big concern for ATMs is balancing convenience and security," said Jose Diaz, director of payment strategy at Thales e-Security. "The use of mobile devices and biometrics at cash point will not only provide a more convenient method of taking out money but it will also help counter incidents of identity theft and card skimming, providing better and stronger authentication."

    <rant>

    Can we have a loud of chorus of: "Biometrics are usernames not passwords!"

    </rant>

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    South African banks will most probably be overjoyed at the prospect of getting rid of ATM's here, since the ne'er-do-wells do love to bomb the ATM's in order to get at the dosh inside...

  18. Daniel B.

    Naaaah

    I know a lot of people that aren't ever going to let go of cash.

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